Before the pandemic, Queen Elizabeth hosted an annual pre-Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace for the extended royal family. The core “senior royals” were always invited to Sandringham for actual holidays, but people like the Gloucesters and various royal cousins and nephews aren’t invited to Sandringham, so QEII invited the whole fam around for a pre-holiday lunch before traveling to Norfolk. I was curious to see if King Charles would change up any of his mother’s holiday traditions now that he’s in charge. Reportedly, he will spend Christmas at Sandringham and the whole drab lot of senior royals will join him. But what of the big family gathering before Christmas? Well, Charles did change it up – this year’s lunch is being held at Windsor Castle, not BP.
King Charles is hosting his first annual Christmas lunch for the wider royal family as monarch at Windsor Castle. This year’s event sees the family brought together in the largest reunion since the Queen’s funeral in September – and the first time the traditional gathering has taken place since 2019, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dozens of royals are expected to attend, including the Prince and Princess of Wales, but notable absentees include Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and their son Archie and daughter Lilibet, who remain in the US.
The turkey and trimmings lunch has typically taken place annually at Buckingham Palace on the Wednesday before Christmas, shortly before the monarch leaves for Sandringham for the festive season. However this year, in a break from tradition, the event is taking place at Windsor Castle.
The first to arrive was King Charles himself, who travelled to Windsor in a car. He opted for a smart baby blue tie for the occasion, which he paired with a navy blue suit. Meanwhile the Queen Consort followed shortly afterward, and looked serene as she was driven into the castle grounds.
Separate arrivals for the king and queen? Royal separations are in the air – William and Kate travel everywhere separately these days too. Anyway, I’m curious about why Charles decided to make everyone schlep to Windsor this year, but maybe there’s more space there for the extended family. Plus, William and Kate are based out of Windsor now (lol) and Prince Andrew is still living in Royal Lodge on the Windsor estate, and he was apparently invited to the lunch too. But not the Sussexes! But of course they get a namecheck. It speaks volumes about Charles that this is the fourth Christmas in a row that he hasn’t seen his younger son or his youngest grandchildren. Diana would have such contempt for how sh-tty Charles has been not just to Harry, but to their grandchildren. At least Charles gets to sing “I’m Dreaming of an All-White Christmas” though.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Cover Images.